Summary: Naomi undergoes a changed perspective.
I. CHANGE: RUTH 1:20
II. CIRCUMSTANCES: RUTH 1:21
III. CONSOLATION: RUTH 1:22
INTRODUCTION: We have seen from the previous verses how that the two women left Moab and are now heading to the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem. As the two women: Naomi and Ruth, drew near the village, there were workers in the field who were shocked to see Naomi after so long a time of absence from Israel. Verse 20 ends with the question, “Is this, Naomi?” In that verse she gives her answer, “Call me not Naomi, but call me Mara.”
She attests that her circumstances have changed the concept of her character. Naomi, meant “Pleasantness” whereas Mara meant, “Bitterness.” The last ten years or more affected her gravely and she reveals the depth of her despair by asking that her former life and name be changed to the present time of despondency and despair. While we may fault Naomi for this assumption, sometimes we Christians enter into the Slough of Despair and there we find ourselves with memories of past blessings and happiness, thinking we will never be better and that the sun will not shine upon us again. However, the sun did eventually shine upon Naomi and it will shine upon us if we remain faithful to Him.
In these verses of Scripture, I see three things. I see where the CHANGE occurred in Naomi and sometimes that same change can happen to we who are faithful to God. Next, I see the CIRCUMSTANCES of Naomi and how she arrived at this feeling. Then, I see where the CONSOLATION occurred to her. God was faithful to His daughter and will be faithful to us if we stay true to Him.
I. CHANGE: It is true that people change. I guess it is inevitable, but we are not quite the person we were ten years ago. Sometimes we change for the better-sometimes for the worse. Such was the instance with Naomi. She left her homeland with two boys and a husband, but now they sleep in Moab. She now returns with one of her former daughter-in-laws. Along the journey of her life, she encountered some radical happenings and now she returns home alone-save with her gentile daughter-in-law.
One of the ways that Naomi must have CHANGED was in her Concepts of God, Himself. She left Bethlehem with her soul full and her stomach empty. While in Moab, she was able to satisfy her physical appetite yet she lost her happiness. Out of these dire straights, she attributes her misfortunes to the God who she has served. Yet, her devotion to God was remarkable because Ruth said that she would embrace the God of Naomi. However, circumstances affected Naomi greatly and the only One she could blame was God. Where was her Concepts of God that sustained her during the draught, the deaths, the dismays of life? Her inner thoughts and ideas about God were changing and perhaps no one knew except her. Finally, her real thoughts and Concepts of the God of all gods came tumbling forth from her lips: “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara.” She blamed God for what she had gone through. I never read where God upbraided her for these thoughts. He knew Naomi and He knew that deep down in her soul, she still believed in Him. Are we any different from her? No. We often are faced with events that challenge our Concepts of God and our relationship with Him, but He is always patient and kind and He eventually rescues that soul which truly believes in Him.